Logicalis’ work in the education vertical market is shedding light on emerging IT trends in K-12 and higher education.
The New York-based IT solution and managed services provider runs a government and education vertical practice in 20 states. When Logicalis started its fiscal year 2020 in March, the practice trained its annual focus on two broad and growing trends: digital learning and IoT-related projects.
“Digital learning and smart and connected everything are really what I am talking to all my customers about. … I see a huge appetite,” said Adam Petrovsky, vice president of U.S. public sector, government and education, at Logicalis.
Securing school environments with IoT
Petrovsky said customer interest in IoT projects is being driven partly by the affordability of IoT devices. Video cameras, for example, have become relatively inexpensive and can be deployed by the thousands.
“What we are seeing is a flourishing of IoT devices,” Petrovsky said.
However, despite the affordability of the devices, education vertical customers are eager to use IoT to attain certain outcomes regardless of the costs. In the K-12 segment, student safety is a strong purchase driver.
“Everyone is concerned about safety. It is not just about school shootings. It is bullying on campus. … It is creating a perimeter, especially in middle schools and elementary schools … and then trying to create a safer environment,” Petrovsky said.
Logicalis recently completed a project for an Arizona school district aimed to reduce student bullying and vaping. Logicalis installed 165 sensors costing about $1,000 each in school restrooms. To detect rowdy bullying, the sensors were configured to detect loud noises. The sensors were also equipped with hydrometers to detect steam emitted from e-cigarette devices. When the sensors pick up on bullying or vaping in a restroom, they notify the administration so school officials can intervene.
Petrosky said the Arizona school district said yes to the anti-bullying and -vaping project without a second thought. “They want more [sensors],” he said.
He added that other districts have since asked Logicalis about doing similar implementations.
Rethinking university classrooms
Colleges and universities are also experimenting with IoT to redefine how classrooms, lecture halls and campuses function.
For a project at Youngstown State University, Logicalis helped develop ‘the classroom of the future.’ Logicalis deployed Cisco’s WebEx Boards and Teams technology, which the company integrated with the YSU’s Blackboard learning management system.
The project enabled students to attend classes virtually and collaborate with their peers and educators in online environments, Petrovsky said.
Taking a step back to move forward
Petrovsky said the influx of digital and technologies has also opened up opportunities for channel partners to modernize customers’ aging networks. As cutting-edge initiatives take root in the education vertical, customers often find their existing infrastructure won’t support their digital ambitions.
Logicalis’ work for Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville illustrated Petrovsky’s point. The Christian liberal arts college found its legacy storage array couldn’t keep pace with rapidly expansions in the student population. Additionally, the school had digital systems it wanted to implement but couldn’t due to its storage deficits, Petrovsky noted.
Logicalis upgraded Trevecca’s storage network by deploying Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Nimble storage technology.
“We had to take a step back to move forward,” Petrovsky said of the project.